Business at the Bathurst Regional Airport is taking off, with the airport's numbers for 2015 showing ridership is growing, according to Katherine Lanteigne, the airport's marketing co–ordinator.
"Each year we see an important increase in passengers. Last year we saw 51,888 passengers," said Lanteigne, an increase of 2,500 passengers from 2014.
The tough economic climate in northern New Brunswick and layoffs in the oil sector out west haven't slowed travel through this hub, which Lanteigne says was built to service an area of about 30,000 people, and has now widened its reach to more than 150,000.
Bob Lennon is in charge of sales for Thermalwood Canada, a Bathurst company that sells manufactured wood products at home and abroad.
Lennon says he travels frequently for business, often on a full flight.
"Most of the time, 95 per cent of the time, they're full. Occasionally, you get a flight that may be half full, but that's very rare," Lennon said.
He says he likes flying out of the Bathurst airport because of the convenience, but says he worries that without an expansion, the small airport could be in jeopardy.
The Bathurst Regional Airport has been lobbying the provincial government for funds for an expansion since 2009.
Lanteigne says the small terminal needs to be expanded, among other issues.
"Doubling the terminal size, so completely new, and then it's also expanding the runway of approximately 900 feet,"
which she says would cost about $8 million.
Lanteigne says talks are ongoing with the province, but so far, there has been no commitment by government.